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Leading health organizations launch new accreditation process for laboratories across Africa
Date:7/26/2009

le health systems."

Laboratories form the backbone of health systems around the world, providing doctors and other health care workers with results of a battery of tests for deadly diseases. Sub-Saharan Africa carries a huge burden of disease it is estimated that the continent has more than 2 million deaths annually from AIDS, nearly 2 million deaths from tuberculosis, and roughly 1 million deaths from malaria and yet its laboratories are among the most ill-equipped and poorly resourced facilities anywhere.

If laboratories function properly, doctors and nurses will not only get correct diagnoses of diseases and an indication of when and how to begin treatment, but they will also know when drugs fail and when people develop resistance to medications. This is a critical component of monitoring patients infected with HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria, as well as a host of other diseases. In addition, an efficient laboratory can dramatically reduce waiting time to get results allowing patients in parts of Africa who often travel a day or more for testing to receive the laboratory results sooner. Studies have shown that when patients need to return for a second visit to a hospital or clinic for test results, significant percentages fail to do so.

The work to improve laboratories began to gain momentum nearly a decade ago; the intensified fight against HIV/AIDS represented by PEPFAR and others provided funding and demand to improve laboratory services. Two of the integral partners in this process have been the WHO-AFRO and PEPFAR through HHS/CDC.

"Supporting governments' efforts to strengthen national health care systems, including laboratory quality management, is essential to ensuring sustainability of country-driven HIV/AIDS interventions," said Ambassador Eric Goosby, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator. "Efforts like this new lab accreditation process are essential to equipping countries and communities with the tools necessary for progr
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Contact: Preeti Singh
psingh@burnesscommunications.com
301-652-1558 x5722
Burness Communications
Source:Eurekalert

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